Shakhtar Donetsk coach killed by Russian shell as football club send heartbreaking message to Moscow

Shakhtar Donetsk coach killed by Russian shell as football club send heartbreaking message to Moscow

A SHAKHTAR Donetsk coach was tragically killed by a Russian shell as the football club issued a heartbreaking plea to Moscow to "stop the madness".

The death of the youth coach was confirmed last night by the club's boss Serhyi Palkin as the Russian assault on Ukraine rages on for a ninth day.

Palkin said in a statement: "One of our employees was killed yesterday. Kids coach.

"He was killed by a fragment of a Russian shell.

"Russia, you are killing Ukrainians. Stop this madness! Don't be silent, speak up!"

Shakhtar are one of Ukraine's most successful clubs – winning 13 league titles, 13 Ukrainian Cups, nine Ukrainian Super Cups and the UEFA Cup.

The club, currently based in the capital Kyiv, are top of the table – two points ahead of defending champions Dynamo Kyiv.

The death of the youth coach, who has not been identified, comes just days after two Ukrainian footballers were killed in the war.

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A FIFPRO statement said: "Our thoughts are with the families, friends and team-mates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football’s first reported losses in this war.

"May they both rest in peace."

Palkin shared a statement last Saturday slamming the war and insisting Ukraine would remain a sovereign state.

He said: "There is a war in the country.

🔵 Read our Russia – Ukraine live blog for the very latest updates

"Russia has launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. People are dying. There are no words to describe what is happening.

"The world community must stop this as soon as possible.

"I urge the clubs we have played with, most of Europe's top teams, UEFA, tens of millions of fans, to give maximum support to Ukraine at their level.

"This war affects every European today. Only by joining forces can we overcome this madness. I believe that together we will stand and win."

He added: "I have gone through many bright moments with Shakhtar, but for me personally the biggest victory in my life will be the victory in this war for Ukraine's independence.

"Regarding the situation in the club. I am in Kyiv. Most of the players and coaches with their families are in Kyiv.

"We are trying to find ways to evacuate our foreigners and their families… employees of the club – at home, in bomb shelters, basements, in the subway. Where it is safer."

Ukraine's Premier League has been paused for at least 30 days minimum after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The top-flight was meant to resume last month after the winter break but now that has been delayed.

And now doubts will be raised over whether Ukraine's World Cup play-off match against Scotland in Glasgow on March 24 will take place as planned.

The UK government have already stated that St Petersburg should be removed as the Champions League final host city on May 28.

It comes as Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine was attacked by Russian troops on Thursday.

Dramatic live stream video from the site in Enerhodar showed Vladimir Putin's troops blasting away at one of the buildings during fighting with local troops early this morning, Ukrainian officials said.

Boris Johnson spoke with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy early this morning after news broke about a fire at the nuclear power station.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Both leaders agreed that Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.

"The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.

"He said the UK would do everything it could to ensure the situation did not deteriorate further."

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